Blathering on

So, apparently blogging is dead. So, what better time for me to get right back into it?! It’s like that time I got into Breaking Bad the day after the last episode aired. I’m always a little bit behind what’s going on and i’m fine with that. I can even blame it on my age now that I’m officially in the last year of my 30’s.

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I’m in the last year of my 30’s AND DON’T I KNOW IT!

If i had a quid for every time someone has referenced my 40th to me since I turned 39 a week ago, i’d be… a bit better off. It’s so bizarre, but people really enjoy doing it! I’m not sure what my reaction is meant to be? Am i meant to be pissed off that I’m ageing rather than the alternative? Am I the only one who has birthdays? Why is 40 such a funny age? It’s all very odd but i’m delighted to be such a joy to you all.

Well, where have i been (said none of you)? Well, since I last sat here and blogged in February, I’ve just been plodding about being Mum and actively thinking about what the next step should / would / could be.

I’ve come to the conclusion that in some way or another, it will probably be writing. That way, i can justifiably stay inside my house. I probably won’t do too much in the way food blogging as i think that ship has sailed and possibly even sunk. But hopefully more writing and for the third year running I’m considering studying for my Masters (writing for script and screen if you’re interested, my degree was in Media Arts with Studio Production). It’s so f**king expensive though, that I need to be 100% sure. So, i’ve been getting some advice and almost all of it sounded like this: just sit down and bloody write. Get some words down. Write about anything. Get back on your blog and blather on about anything.

So, here I am, blathering on. About anything.

London Eats | A Wish List

It's been so long since I visited London, so much so, i'm getting withdrawal symptoms. So, Ive planned a food trip, albiet virtual for now.

Little Duck | The Picklery

 I'm starting here at   The Picklery   because to me, it sounds like the most perfect little spot in East London.  As you may, or may not know I am OBSESSED with pickles and ferments, so this place? Heaven on Earth.

I'm starting here at The Picklery because to me, it sounds like the most perfect little spot in East London.  As you may, or may not know I am OBSESSED with pickles and ferments, so this place? Heaven on Earth.

I mean listen to this: "The Picklery is a fermenting kitchen, eatery and wine bar - its here we make our seasonal ferments, pickles and home-made drinks - you can buy our fermented goods ready jarred as part of our preserved food range THE PICKLERY or loose by gram for your daily fix of kimchi or kraut fresh from our fermenting crocks..."

I couldn't think of anything better. I'm definitely going to try and get a visit in with my mate, Lucy who is as pickling mad as I am and has already been there without me - rude!! F.Y.I - follow her insta, she'll take you on a locals tour of London.


Snackbar Pop Up

I'm forever gutted that I never tried one of Freddie Janssen's famous grilled cheeses at her F.A.T market stall, so i'm going to have to time the catching of one of the Snackbar Pop Ups, just right. The menu for the Snackbar x Legs popup in Hackney, looked delicious - I would have definitely gone for the Rose Shrimp and Tostadas in Shio Koji and the Shitake and Girolle Tempura. Man, my mouth is watering!


Bún Bún Bún

I've been making Bahn Mi's at home for about six years - in fact i'm pretty sure that my Chicken Bahn Mi was the last meat dish I ate! Still what a way to go, eh?! Even though the search has been long and exhaustive, I haven't found a good veggie or vegan one anywhere since those heady 2012 days and whilst it's not that surprising I guess, considering where I live (pizza, anyone? Artisan burger? Yawn.) - it's still grim and it's 100% the reason I want to try Bún Bún Bún's lemongrass tofu version. Nom nom nom (see what I did there? Ahem).


Slingin' Po' Boys

Ok, ok, this is my last one, for no other reason other than if i carry on writing about ALL THE FOOD, i might gnaw my hand off, because it's 13:45 and I haven't had lunch. I LOVE Po' Boys and i have only ever had them at home, which whilst delicious and totally addictive, just leaves me hungry for trying more versions! Since discovering these guys on Insta, through a recommendation from a fellow foodie, i've been hooked on them and really, really want to try the blackened shrimp (above). I eat with my eyes first, 100% and one sure fire way to get me hungry for grub of any type is, through food photography. Team that with my never ending passion for hot, fresh street food and i'm sold. I mean, look at it!! Then let me at it...

...guess who's trying to give up bread! Ha, this post may as well been sponsored by bread. Bread and pickles. Now, there's an idea...

Hey!

Hiya! 

Who dat? ME! LIA! The owner of this lonely, cobweb covered blog. 

It's been ages, hasn't it? 26th September to be exact and truth be told, i'm not sure i'm going to keep up tapping away at this keyboard to add content here. I mean, I used to love blogging, but once I switched from DIZZY LOVE ICY to Tangerine Canteen via Wordpress, the moon, the planet Zog and Mars, before finally landing here on Square Space, I've kind of got a bit 'meh' about the whole thing. Plus, i lost a whole bunch of content (2 years worth or something - all portfolio stuff), which really took the wind out of my sales and made me just want to give up all over again.

--- Yep, this is a brain dump. Move along if there is anything more interesting you could be doing, AKA ANYTHING ELSE!!

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I dunno, it feels like the good old days of blogging seem like they are long gone and now, unless it's your job, it feels a bit pointless at times, for me at least. I don't read half as many blogs as I used to and i don't really miss it. I feel like I keep up with all my faves via Instagram now and I interact with the people I admire a lot more that way.

I especially feel this way about food blogging. The market is SATURATED now and i don't really feel like there is room for me. When I sit and consider the amount of work and time it takes to make, shoot and write up a recipe, it feels a bit like a waste of time, especially when you know there are probably at least 1000 bloggers out there making the same thing, probably better and more creatively.

But, maybe all is not lost? Maybe I will keep this space and take it right back to the old school? Maybe i'll just use it to document what's going on in the day to day? Maybe, because it isn't my job, or any source of income anymore, it doesn't need to be so curated?  Hmmm?

Maybe that's it? Maybe that's what i'll do with this now? 

Let's see. As you were...

 

Supper Club : Grilled Peach + Whipped Feta Toasts

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I'm currently in the middle of some exciting recipe testing for our November supper club and at the moment, I'm trying out some flavour combinations for possible canapés. I picked up a load of peaches at the greengrocers yesterday and spent the rest of the afternoon figuring out if they could come in handy.  Most of the recipes I found for 'savoury' recipes, all seemed to involve goats cheese or cured meats and whilst i love goats cheese (meat, not so much!), it just felt a bit predictable.

Enter stage left, FETA!  I knew it would work deliciously next to those sticky, sweet peaches so I whipped it up with a little cream cheese, before piling it onto these little toasts. Once I'd added the peaches, and drizzled a little basil dressing over them, they really were delicious. They were really quick and simple to make, you just need to get your toast, really thin and crispy, so you have a combination of textures. If the bread is too thick, it won't work half as well.


Grilled Peach & Whipped Feta Toasts

Ingredients (makes 8 toasts):

  • ciabatta loaf, sliced very thin (8 slices)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • handful of basil leaves, chopped
  • 100g feta
  • 80g cream cheese
  • 3-4 peaches, sliced (you'll want 2-3 slices on each toast)
  • balsamic glaze (i used pre-bought - good recipe to make your own here )
  • rose petals totally optional - perfect for a party though ;)

Method:

  1. First up, griddle your ciabatta slices until really crisp, then set aside.
  2. Next, make the basil dressing by combining the chopped basil, extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Next, make the whipped feta: in a small bowl spoon in the cream cheese and crumble in the feta. Keep stirring until all the feta is combined and the consistency resembles whipped cream. Set aside.
  4. Grill your peaches over a medium / high heat on a griddle pan. Keep an eye on them and once they have scorch marks on one side, carefully turn over until you get the same on the other side. Turn off the heat.
  5. Assemble the toasts by firstly spreading over your whipped feta. Next, drizzle over a little of the basil dressing, followed by a couple of slices of grilled peach, before finishing with the balsamic. 
  6. Enjoy!

 

WEEKEND BAKE OFF WITH THE KIDS

Peanut Butter Cups

So, this weekend we decided to have a kids Bake Off. This was partly because we were all drained and partly because we thought the weather was going to be significantly worst than it actually turned out to be.  

Toblerone Cheesecake

All three of them chose what they wanted to make and got cracking in the kitchen. It's so lovely to see the older two confident enough to do everything on their own now (I wasn't even allowed in the kitchen!) and it's great to see that India is almost there too. She obviously still needs me there for safety reasons, and will do for a couple more years yet, but she can read a recipe and translate it into actions pretty much on her own.

Lemon & Polenta Biscuits

D made these Peanut Butter Cups 

F made this  Toblerone Salted Caramel Cheesecake  

India made the Lemon & Polenta Biscuits from Jamies 5 ingredients book.

All delicious, how could we possibly pick a winner?

Halloumi Grilled Cheese w/ Honey + Harissa

Halloumi Grilled Cheese

I heart grilled cheese. Let that be known.

It's the only comfort food on the planet that is guaranteed to hit the spot for me. When I need to hunker down, knee-deep in Autumn bliss, with some culinary stodge on my lap, a grilled cheese sandwich is the only thing I want.

Ever since I was a little girl, I've been eating grilled cheese in one form or another and it all started with the good old 'cheese-on-toast'. I have vivid memories of sitting on the kitchen worktops as a child, probably about four years old, eating cheese-on-toast with heaps of piccalilli.

As a teen, desperate for the pizza deliveries like the ones I saw on the TV (living in Devon, this wasn't going to be an option until 1999) I would improvise and found that by excitedly spreading some tomato puree between the toast and cheese, i had 'created' a pizza. Kind of. 

At university, whilst drunk for pretty much four years straight, i doubt little more than a couple of days went by without the famous bean and cheese toastie being consumed by myself and my housemates with Daddies brown sauce being the essential dip. I mean, show me a student of the 90's that didn't go off to university with a toastie maker in their back pocket! 

Thankfully, now that I am a semi-responsible adult, I have the freedom to try out any combination I like whenever the mood takes me (blue cheese and gherkin for the win, fyi) and I also have the luxury of trying to discover which which bread works best (sourdough) and which way one should cook said sandwich. However, through all of the experiments, i've never been able to incorporate Halloumi into the traditional sandwich that we all know.

UNTIL TODAY, FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 8th, 2017

Ladies and gents, may I present to you this delicious, sweet, salty, fresh, fiery and above all else, absolutely perfect sandwich. Whilst this sandwich isn't traditional in the American "Grilled Cheese" sense of the word (the cheese is grilled, but the bread is toasted here) I still, very much urge you to try it.

Halloumi Grilled Cheese w/ Honey and Harissa

Ingredients

  • 3 slices of slightly toasted sourdough
  • 125g halloumi sliced into 6 slices
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp harissa
  • 3 cherry plum toms, sliced
  • handful of lightly flavoured green leaves, I used pea shoots

Method

  1. In a small bowl mix together the honey and the harissa. Set aside.
  2. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry your halloumi until browned on both sides. Remove and place on a paper towel.
  3. Meanwhile, toast your sourdough, until the edges are beginning to char, but its still lightly toasted on the sides.
  4. Whilst still hot, brush the honey and harissa mix over the slices of halloumi.
  5. When the sourdough is ready, build your sandwich: Sourdough > leaves > toms > halloumi - drizzle of harissa mix - sourdough > leaves > toms > halloumi - drizzle of harissa mix. Then pop on the final sourdough on top, et viola.
  6. Lie back and think of England